â€œU Love My Styleâ€ is one of LaVieâ€™s signature tees and can be seen on the likes of internationally acclaimed emcees, such as Nas. Offered in shades of turquoise and lambskin the tee has helped the company blow up big time on the streetwear map. At the time, the New York collective was a fresh group of eight members. The brand is now older, wiser and about to drop their newest and largest collection of streetwear to date. Four members of LaVieâ€™s team took a minute to chat with Format about their clothing, lifestyle, and why they feel that LaVie is here to stay.
â€œIt’s a lifestyle that incorporates individual style, confidence and success. We feel that these three characteristics embody important things every person should have.â€
Format: There are a lot of people involved in LaVie. How did you all link up?
Chris: It still boggles my mind how we (Fausto J. Montano, Danny Peguero, Angelica Peralta, Chris Hostos, Abiel “Sence” Ruiz, Enver Perez, Leo Peralta, and Annya Santana) met and built this company from the ground up. We have all come from different walks of life and most of us didnâ€™t know each other prior to 2003. We all met through coincidence and being at the right place at the right time, honestly.
Format: You mention “The LaVie LifeStyle?” in most of your marketing materials. What is the LifeStyle, exactly?
Angie: It’s a lifestyle that incorporates individual style, confidence and success. We feel that these three characteristics embody important things every person should have.
Format: LaVie really started to blow up when celebrities like Nas started rocking your “U Love My Style” tee. What item from this season’s collection do you predict will be the next big thing?
Angie: Honestly, I think every piece will be a big thing in its own way. It’s a collection, but every piece has its own individual feel so it embraces many different types of attitudes and styles. Our cut and sew pieces are individually beautiful and speak their own story, as do our tees, which further stamp the need to send a strong message about the wearer.
Chris: Imagine, every garment will include at least some lambskin leather, embroidery, or a complex design. Some will have all three.
Format: LaVie’s holiday season expands the line to include denim, cardigans, and some very well designed women’s items. During the initial planning, what were you hoping to achieve with this season?
Fausto: To show people we’re more than just another tee shirt line or a one hit wonder. The “U Love My Style” tee shirt was a hit. We didn’t want people who knew about us thinking, “Ok, they did one hot shirt, what next?” At the same time we didn’t want people that didn’t know about us to not give us our props because of that “one hit wonder” status. It’s a double-edged sword, but we knew we had to come out hard or not come out at all.
Format: Your denim has some interesting stuff happening in the crotch area. What was the inspiration for these adornments, and how has the response been to them so far?
Fausto: I actually got offered $250 to sell my jeans from people who’ve come up to me in the streets. People hit me up on the Internet throwing crazy prices at me to give them up. This happened to me so many times that we decided it was definitely a must to release the denims. The demand has been crazy. Now that I think about it – that might be the next big hit.
Angie: The women’s jeans also feature a crown with wings on the derriere area and they draw a lot of attention. I think it’s good to have a garment that works as a conversational piece.
Format: There are a lot of new streetwear brands out there. What does LaVie offer that other brands can’t?
Chris: I think the biggest difference of our brand from many others is the flexibility of our clothing. For instance, you’re going to be able to rock the cardigan to a Fortune 500 holiday party and then turn around and rock it to the sneakerhead party. You won’t need to go home and change.
Angie: I think we offer garments that are different in terms of cuts, designs, graphics, and colors. We try to take all these things and make a tasteful garment that appeals to a much broader generation.
Format: What are your thoughts on the current state of streetwear?
Angie: I think streetwear is definitely shifting into a state of “mass awareness.” One of the biggest appeals of streetwear is that its roots formed by keeping garments underground, exclusive, and political. Consumers began to want to get their hands on these rare finds. Now every clothing line wants that exclusive, different look, and it’s no longer exclusive.
Format: What are some challenges that you’ve experienced as a young brand?
Fausto: Some people taking us seriously or questioning if we hang with the big boys. But after being in the FoSho FoShow tradeshow in Vegas, which included established brands like Lemar and Dauley, Crooks and Castles, and Rocksmith, to name a few, we became known. All these brands are very well known in the streetwear circle, so when buyers came to our table and bought from us too it felt like, “Yeah, we can hang we the bigger brands.” They saw that too, so that has definitely made a big difference.
Format: If you could pick two celebrities to represent your collection this season, one for the women’s side and one for the men’s side, who would they be?
Fausto: For the guys that’s hard, because LaVie is made up of guys who have different styles. So I say a mix between Lil’ Wayne and Kanye. Their swag, the high-end mixed with street, the flashiness, jewelry, diamonds, money, the “Fu%k that! U love my style attitude… feel me? For the girls I say Kid Sister. She’s going to be like a female Kanye I think.
Format: What new areas do you hope to see LaVie in five years?
Fausto: LaVie stores. With a full line of clothes and LaVie everything: LaVie ski, LaVie toys, LaVie kids, etc., and stuff that we’re not ready to talk about. You’ll just have to wait and see.